12 Steps to Wedding-Worthy Nails
Get your finger tips camera-ready yourself with these expert-approved tips for a lasting, smudge-free DIY manicure.
The Right Cut
Snipping nails with scissors results in a Picasso amount of crazy angles. Instead, make one linear cut, says Beth Fricke, a manicurist in Los Angeles. Try Denco Straight Cut Toenail Clipper (drugstore.com).
Enlist a 220 grit file to smooth the sides, always in the same direction. We like Tweezerman Premium Emery Board.
Exfoliate Dead Skin
Never cut cuticles—you're practically asking for an infection! Rather, dab on Be Natural Cuticle Eliminator to exfoliate dead skin safely (sallybeauty.com).
Lift polish and debris with Zoya's Remove Plus, a fave of Sue Nam, a manicurist in New York City. It's mild but doesn't contain aloe, which can affect polish adhesion.
An orangewood stick wrapped with cotton and dipped in alcohol is an always-sanitized tool for gently nudging cuticles and removing wayward lacquer.
Slice cubes off of All Season's Fine Grit Yellow Finishing Block to buff every time with a clean, never-dull surface (sallybeauty.com).
Pump Up the Base
Protect with Essie Sensitivity Base Coat before your color (available at salons).
Top it Off
Seal polish and add shine with Seche Vite Top Coat (sallybeauty.com).
Flash-dry by dripping OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil onto wet enamel.
3 Quick Fixes
Know how to handle these little imperfections if they pop up:
Peeling and Weakness: Genetics, water exposure, and low-protein diets can make nails wimpy. Wear gloves when doing dishes and eat a well-rounded diet to fill nutritional gaps.
Ragged Edges: Nipping the cuticle can permanently damage the matrix (where the nail grows from). Just push instead. Hangnail? Snip it, then swab on alcohol and ointment.
Discoloration: A hit to your matrix shows up as harmless white dots, while dyes in dark polish and selftanner yellow nails. Sweep nails with remover after a faux-glow.